Vexatious litigant and embattled Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed another lawsuit to waste taxpayer dollars and deflect attention from his own considerable legal woes. Paxton is suing the City of Austin for an alleged violation of the state’s open carry law by banning guns from its city hall, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Red predicts that Mr. P will fail in his efforts to coerce Austin into complying with his Tea Party and NRA agenda. The language of the open carry law provides that guns can be prohibited in courts or “offices utilized by the court.” Austin’s city hall (and many others in Texas) frequently hold various types of court proceedings. Austin temple of local democracy, for example, hosts a community court for low-level offenders, and the City based its gun ban on that fact. Whether that’s actually a court is an open question. Three weeks ago, Paxton issued a non-binding AG’s opinion claiming there is no court in Austin’s city hall and threatened to sue Austin unless it blinked first. City officials apparently had little respect for the legal stylings of an indicted AG. Paxton, ever eager for a spotlight that will cement his Tea Party bona fides has now sued.
The Chicago Tribune relates the sad story of T.J. Antell – a concealed carry owner and former Marine – who was killed in Arlington when he attempted to intervene in a domestic dispute with his gun. The alleged shooter, Ricci Bradden, who was stationed at Fort Hood had been involved in an argument with his wife in the parking lot of a Walgreen’s. Bradden discharged his gun twice striking the ground and hitting his wife in the ankle. Antell rushed to his truck, retrieved his gun and attempted to stop Bradden from fleeing. That’s when Bradden exited his vehicle and shot Antell dead. Now there is a dead father of three and a man who will be charged with murder – none of which had to happen. Red wonders if the gun lobby’s continual rant which spins the compelling fiction that you need a gun at the ready at all times so that you can save yourself or, even better, be a real-life hero when the time comes had any part in this tragic chain of events.
Please don’t claim that you are surprised to find out that a State Mental Hospital cannot ban visitors from bringing guns into the facility. Hospital officials, however, were taken off guard when they recently discovered that under Texas law the longstanding practice of prohibiting handguns at the ten state psychiatric hospitals was illegal – and had been for years.
“Patients in our facilities are a danger to themselves or others,” Cathy Campbell, a policy coordinator for the state hospitals, wrote in a December email. “It seems inconceivable that we would require visitors to store box cutters but allow them to bring a gun on campus.” But despite Campbell’s concerns, the law in Texas does not allow the state-run hospitals to ban handguns.
Tom Benning of the Dallas Morning News has the whole sad story of how the Texas Legislature failed to foresee the consequences in their zeal to promote more guns in the state.
Lawmakers who passed gun carry laws in the 1990s don’t appear to have contemplated the scenario. Carve-outs in the law and later legislative tweaks fuzzed things. At some point, “no guns” signs were posted at those hospitals. And until last year, the setup went largely unnoticed.
Officials with the Department of State Health Services have now taken steps to mitigate the risk of a patient accessing a gun – posting signs, for example, that ask visitors to voluntarily keep guns away.
But at least one facility, Austin State Hospital, has been slow to put up the new signs — which remain difficult to notice. And though there’s optimism that lawmakers will address the issue next year, the state remains in somewhat uncharted territory.
“It defies comprehension,” Dorthy Floyd, superintendent at Terrell State Hospital, wrote in an email in January. The News obtained the emails under the state’s open-records law after the gun policy earned international attention in January.
State-run psychiatric hospitals are just one of several government institutions re-evaluating their firearms policies these days. Private mental hospitals continue to have the right to bar guns on their property.
KHOU is reporting that Texas Tech will allow guns in the classroom.
Texas Tech University plans to ban guns in its recreation center, chapel and some dorms, but won’t prevent students with concealed handgun licenses from carrying in classrooms, the school announced Tuesday.
The policy, which was finalized by Interim President John Opperman, will be reviewed by the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents in April. Under state law, the board doesn’t have to approve the policy but can change it if it sees a need.
“I am confident we have submitted a set of recommendations that respects the spirit of the law while reflecting input from our community,” Opperman said.
From the Annals of the Police State – In 1969, approximately 100 Texas Rangers, local lawmen, and state police descended on Wiley College in a wild overreaction to a series of nonviolent student demonstrations on the campus. Wiley, in Marshall, is the oldest black college west of the Mississippi River. The students were demonstrating over faculty hiring practices, primitive dormitory facilities, and cutbacks in the intercollegiate athletic program. The police undertook a massive search for concealed weapons in the dorms – something the right-wing would now have to condemn but undoubtedly condoned because black students were the ones targeted. The search turned up nothing and only resulted in the campus being closed for several weeks. The demonstrations continued after the police raid and ultimately resulted in the school administration’s decision to improve living conditions on campus.
The University of Texas at Austin President Gregory Fenves has issued new rules regarding guns on the 40 Acres that has achieved the near impossible goal of making everyone angry. Peaceniks are upset that guns will be allowed in classrooms and other public areas. Dedicated gun owners are upset over being denied the right to pack heat in their dorm rooms. Red completely sympathizes here. Red can hardly count the times when a simple show of basic firepower might have discouraged freeloading dorm mates who felt entitled to yet another hit on the bong before tackling differential equations. If your average college student can’t protect their weed in their own room then we’re on a slippery slope leading to frat boys invading and carrying off every Tequila bottle that isn’t nailed down.
Then there are the curious exceptions. Concealed handguns will be allowed in dorms’ common areas; people who work in the dorms will be able to carry; and family members visiting the dorms will also be allowed to carry. So when confronting that German student who has charmed away one’s girlfriend with promises of endless strudel and a slightly used 5 Series BMW, the showdown will have to take place in the lounge. You won’t be able to pistol whip the little Hun bastard in his bunk bed anymore. The exception for dorm workers makes more sense to Red. Whining about meatloaf Monday will be considered a dangerous proposition and you won’t dare get caught leaving your food tray on the table. Admonitions to police up after yourself will have a new and sinister meaning. A few rounds fired randomly in the air by Lunch Lady will have the cafeteria sporting tables that you can actually eat off of. As for family members, Red fondly remembers his Dad brandishing his 7mm Ruger in one hand and a bottle of Jack Black in the other to the dismay of the RA calling curfew. Dad liked a good party.
Which brings us to the classrooms – where a free fire zone has been declared. Unhappy with old Professor Fannypack calling on you when you haven’t read the assignment. Perhaps a simple pat on the chest indicative of the relative location of your Smith & Wesson .38 Special will be enough for the old fart to move on to a more prepared and less lethal classmate.
But when visiting your professor in his office beware. Faculty members who don’t share an office with anyone else can ban guns in their specific areas. Aggrieved students will have to employ more subtle forms of influence to raise grades that seem likely to keep them out of the law school of their choice. Red suggests wresting that bottle of Jack Black out of Dad’s hands and bringing it to your next student-teacher conference.
Meanwhile, the privileged few attending private colleges in Texas have no such worries about when and where they will or will not be allowed to strap one on. Every private college that has spoken out so far has made the decision to opt out of campus carry. Watch out for the Germans.
At least one Dallas area parishioner is incensed about the decision of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas to not allow open or concealed carry in its churches. In fact, incensed enough to cut off tithing to the church and re-direct the money to the NRA. He or she better hope that Wayne LaPierre is standing at the Pearly Gates instead of St. Peter.